Mumbai Indians sail into final

Breezy knocks from Tiwary, Pollard spur Sachins men to a convincing 35-run win over RCB

Mumbai Indians sail into final

MATCH WINNER: Mumbai Indians’ Saurabh Tiwary hits a boundary during his unbeaten knock of 52 against Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL semifinal on Wednesday. PTI

The giant West Indian, gifted with brawn and brain, stopped Royal Challengers Bangalore in their tracks with a command all-round performance to turbo-charge Sachin Tendulkar’s men to the final of IPL III, and a place in the Champions League.

Tendulkar, who left the field bleeding from his right hand after making a valiant but failed attempt to catch Rahul Dravid, did his side a great turn by winning the toss. With man of the match Pollard in the forefront and Ambati Rayudu and Saurabh Tiwary playing their parts, the Indians posted a competitive 184 for five, worth many more given the pressures of a knockout game.

A revamped batting line-up threatened to get the job done until the dismissals in successive deliveries of Robin Uthappa and Dravid took the wind out of the Challengers’ sails. Anil Kumble’s men settled for 149 for nine to go down by 35 runs.

With Jacques Kallis and Kevin Pietersen – sensationally stumped down the leg-side -- falling cheaply, much depended on Uthappa’s big-hitting abilities. The right-hander promised much but fell to Pollard – who else?! – trying to match the steepling required rate, much of the Challengers’ hopes disappearing with his dismissal.

There was no sting in the lower middle-order, no twist to the tale as the Mumbai Indians pacers shut out all escape routes and Pollard reaped the rewards, three for 17 to match a breathless 13-ball 33 (1x4, 3x6) signifying an excellent day in office.

Tidy period
After a tidy third quarter when Kumble and Pietersen tied the batsmen down, the Challengers fell apart in the final five overs. Only 26 had been realised between overs 11 and 15, but as it transpired, that was merely the lull before the storm, the next five yielding a decisive 77.

Tiwary set the ball rolling by converting a meandering innings into a defining one, but the real damage was done by Pollard, who can make the best in the business look extremely mediocre.

No ground is big enough, it would appear, to rein in the Trinidadian. He cleared the ropes comfortably, and seemingly without hitting the ball in anger, comprehensively dashing the Challengers’ aspirations.

Apart from that brief period of consolidation by Tiwary and Ambati Rayudu, the Indians’ innings always had the momentum even though Tendulkar was dismissed for a single-digit score for the first time in the competition and Shikhar Dhawan ran himself out in trying to be cheeky.

At various stages over the last six weeks, the beefy Tiwary, left-handed, and his little right-handed mate Rayudu have hauled the Indians out of the woods. It was no different on Wednesday once the Indians slipped to 77 for four in the 10th over. For nearly five overs, neither batsman hit a boundary; unsurprisingly, given how much maturity they have shown in IPL III, there was no sign of panic as they bided their time beautifully.

It was Tiwary who triggered the shift of gears with 17 off the 16th over, sent down by Kallis. It heralded a torrent that Kumble was powerless to stop. The shortness in length which Praveen Kumar had exhibited with the new-ball was compounded by full tosses; Kumble himself uncharacteristically bowled two no-balls in one over as Tiwary and Rayudu put on 67 (51b).

Pollard then took charge, totally dominating an unbroken sixth-wicket association of 40 (14b) with Tiwary. Suddenly, a gettable total had mushroomed into an intimidating, and eventually match-winning one, the momentum in shift and mood-swings all too obvious.

SCORE BOARD

MUMBAI INDIANS: Shikhar Dhawan (run out) 12 (9b, 2x4), Sachin Tendulkar c Taylor b Steyn 9 (9b, 2x4), Abhishek Nayar c Praveen b Pietersen 22 (18b, 2x4), Ambati Rayudu c Kallis b Steyn 40 (38b, 4x4), Jean-Paul Duminy c Pietersen b Kumble 3 (4b), Saurabh Tiwary (not out) 52 (31b, 3x4, 4x6), Kieron Pollard (not out) 33 (13b, 1x4, 3x6). Extras (LB-2, W-9, Nb-2) 13. Total (for 5 wkts, 20 overs) 184.

Fall of wickets: 1-11 (Tendulkar), 2-29 (Dhawan), 3-68 (Nayar), 4-77 (Duminy), 5-144 (Rayudu).

Bowling: Praveen Kumar 3-0-29-0 (w-5), Dale Steyn 4-0-43-2 (w-3), R Vinay Kumar 2-0-25-0 (w-1), Jacques Kallis 2-0-25-0, Anil Kumble 4-0-30-1 (nb-2), Kevin Pietersen 4-0-20-1, Virat Kohli 1-0-10-0.

Scoring pattern: 5 overs: 39/2; 10: 81/4; 15: 107/4; end of innings: 184/5 in 20 overs.
Runs during Power Play: 1-6 overs: 54/2.

ROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORE: Jacques Kallis c Rayudu b Malinga 11 (9m, 2x4), Rahul Dravid (run out) 23 (22b, 3x4), Kevin Pietersen st Rayudu b Harbhajan 19 (14b, 2x4), Robin Uthappa c Dhawan b Pollard 26 (13b, 2x4, 2x6), Ross Taylor (not out) 31 (30b, 1x4, 1x6), Virat Kohli c Ambati Rayudu b Kieron Pollard 9 (7b, 1x4), Manish Pandey c Jean-Paul Duminy b Kieron Pollard 5 (9b), Praveen Kumar b Harbhajan Singh 1 (2b), R Vinay Kumar b Lasith Malinga 8 (8b), Dale Steyn b Dilhara Fernando 5 (5b, 1x4), Anil Kumble (not out) 1 (2b). Extras (LB-2, W-7, NB-1) 10. Total (for 9 wkts, 20 overs) 149.

Fall of wickets: 1-24 (Jacques Kallis), 2-47 (Kevin Pietersen), 3-81 (Robin Uthappa), 4-81 (Rahul Dravid), 5-97 (Virat Kohli), 6-108 (Manish Pandey), 7-118 (Praveen), 8-134 (Vinay Kumar), 9-146 (Steyn).

Bowling: Zaheer Khan 4-0-34-0, Dilhara Fernando 4-0-28-1 (w-1, nb-1), Lasith Malinga 4-0-24-2 (w-1), Harbhajan Singh 4-0-44-2 (w-3), Kieron Pollard 4-0-17-3 (w-2).
Scoring pattern: 5 overs: 41/1; 10: 83/4; 15: 118/7; end of innings: 149/9 in 20 overs.
Runs during Power Play: 1-6 overs: 44/1.

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